PRo Tips: Putting Your Best Foot Forward with Reporters

Pitching the media is an art and successfully securing opportunities for clients is a standard measure of success. To secure these wins, public relations professionals must take multiple aspects into account – the messaging of the pitch, the relevance to the reporter and their beat, the time that you reach out to the reporter, and more.

Effectively accounting for each of these considerations can mean the difference between securing an opportunity for your client or coming up empty-handed. The following tips from The Bliss Group’s Media Specialist Team are best practices for securing coverage that will help you to put your best foot forward when pitching reporters.

  1. Timing is Everything

Traditionally, reporters are most responsive to pitches during the morning or first part of the day. From discussions we’ve had with reporters, many reserve time to check emails in the morning ahead of their planning meetings with editors. Therefore, PR professionals should aim to send out proactive pitches and pitches discussing evergreen stories or features in the morning.

However, if there is a breaking story in the middle of the day that is relevant for your client and a particular media contact, quickly pitch them with relevant information as close as possible to the time that the news broke.

Another variable to consider is the time zone in which the reporter is located. PR professionals should take the time to confirm reporters’ locations to ensure that they’re sending a pitch at a time that makes sense for the reporter.

  1. Beat the Deadline

When corresponding with a reporter, don’t shy away from asking about their deadline and be sure to convey it in your communications to the client.

The earliest interviews scheduled by a reporter tend to be the ones that shape the story. Take advantage of scheduling clients in the early side of a reporter’s timeframe so their insights aren’t an afterthought.

  1. Have a Hook

When drafting the actual pitch, be sure that the messaging is brief yet compelling. Reporters generally won’t write on a topic unless it’s tied to something that’s changing or happening now, such as an ongoing event or breaking news. A company message supported by data or a relevant anecdote plus the news “hook” equals a strong media pitch. 

  1. Make the Reporter’s Life Easier

Reporters are busy people, sometimes receiving up to 1,000 emails a day from public relations professionals. Make their jobs easy for them and help eliminate the back-and-forth conversation by providing what they need up front.

If there’s an event that’s coming up, make sure the date and time are clearly written in the pitch. If there’s information needed beyond the pitch, include a press release with more details.

If there’s a story you’re pitching, make sure you offer up a specific source along with their name and title for interviews. If you have a visual story that has photos associated with it, make sure you clearly label them and include a file sharing link.

Of course, a story is never guaranteed, but if you can align company messaging with a news hook, time pitching correctly, and help to clear up questions right from the start, you’re putting yourself in a much better position to succeed with a reporter and for your client.

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